Ludlow Joins Crayonista in Group Hug Snoozecast

by Urizenus Sklar on 25/11/06 at 2:08 pm

In one of the more nauseating examples of SL log-rolling we have seen, Philosopher Peter Ludlow joins Crayonista Joseph Jaffe on episode 64 of his “Across the Sound” podcast. Topics discussed in their highly focussed one hour discourse:

IBM, Jay-Z, Pontiac, Jimmy Kimmel, Nissan, crayon, Urizenus Sklar, Second Life Herald, Mark Wallace, The Sims Online, Alphaville, Everquest, World of Warcraft, Stumpette, Amanda Chapel/Vale, Wall Street Journal, Britney Mason, Cardie Mahoney, LEO Burnett, Ogilvy, BBH, C.C. Chapman, Shel Holtz, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Linden Labs, Millions of Us, Tom Cruise, MI3, The Aristocrats

More details below the fold:

Topics of discussion in Across the Sound #64:

Hazing/Rights of Passage

Should you be a unicorn or dress in a 3-piece suit in SL?

SL as a place to do business (B2B)

Forget Web 2.0 or the “Socal Web”; this is the birth of the experience Web: Web 3.d (telepresence)

What is SL SuperModel Cardie Mahoney doing on crayonville Island?

Marketers entering Second Life/How Marketing can work in a Social environment

The Reach conundrum (Jaffe Juice post: Memories)

A Rant on Nissan

The extremes of Second Life

Staying Power – Wells Fargo disbandoned or moved their “island” to Active World, but left SL nevertheless
SL scaling for future growth

Winners & Losers: Peter’s picks 2 winners, the avatar Anshe Chung (the quintisential frags to riches story) and the PR/marketing industry (for getting their acts together in SL); Joseph’s winner is Borat/Sascha Baron Cohen and Losers are those who minimized what could have been a brilliant idea with Jay-Z performing in Second Life

9 Responses to “Ludlow Joins Crayonista in Group Hug Snoozecast”

  1. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 25th, 2006

    Was this a contest to see how many brand names you can mention in an hour? Is this like the King Biscuit Flour Hour?

  2. Joseph Jaffe

    Nov 25th, 2006

    Neva – why don’t you take a listen and then let me know what you think?

  3. Urizenus

    Nov 25th, 2006

    I have to say I don’t remember talking about Tom Cruise.

  4. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 26th, 2006

    Oh dear, you made me listen. Like most podcasts, I found it about 45 minutes too long. And yes, you did drop every name you could think to drop, which is why it has all the fake branding feeling.

    I don’t subscribe to the same theory that Uri advocates, that Urizenus is some separate entity that he “role-plays”. My avatar is simply far more integrated for me. Hiro Pendragon is among those who poke at me and try to get me to “stop role-playing” and imagines they can contrast my “nice” RL persona with my “evil” avatar persona. Baloney. It’s all one — or it’s all many-of-the-one, of the “large, I contain multitudes” type of thing.

    So I reject the idea that you can haze Crayonistas and then come and chat with them in a meta-like way in the studio — Uri does that but it’s actually a very clever way of pwning his enemies whom he actually subtly hazes more. You’ll see muahahahaha!

    As for what Jaffe says, I find it the same narrowcast. He wants to work with “likeminded”. He wants to get with people who “get it”. This is that usual subjective, ecstatic state that the FIC always exclaims about — just their own ingroup, those who “get it” as they imagine it has to be “got” — no others need apply, don’t disturb me with the facts.

    The idea that the producers and the lawyers are to blame, and MOU and producers aren’t, is completely unsustainable. The idea that MOU and its handlers didn’t know about lawyers, and didn’t get this ahead of time is unreal to me. What, they’re so high on the SL Kool-Aid they think they can CopyBot even copyrighted CDs and live music like this Jimmy Z dude? What, they think they’re at a goddamn Grateful Dead concert plugged into the soundboard at Red Rocks??? Hello?

    I really get nauseous at this idea that marketing is “like connecting,” that marketing so invades our social space now that even intimate relations are coloured or even polluted by selling. I suppose it’s a natural progression. It’s gross, however.

    What I’m realizing is that the Crayonistas may have never been in games. For some people, going back to 2000 or earlier, they got used to MUDs, and online communities and chats, and even the offline Sims game family exchange and real-time scrolling chat. Then in the Sims Online in 2000, you could have that experience of wow, there’s somebody sitting in this room or making a pizza with me from New Jersey and hey, that person’s from Texas blah blah.

    Many people in SL in the first few years already went through those heady experiences — wow, this guy is from Kyrgyzstan, how did he dial up? etc. But it wears off as you realize there’s nothing especially binding with all this hands-across-the-sea stuff, and in fact you learn many more ways in which there are deep differences, frictions, and clashes of civilization in really emotional ways which you experience with the nastiest of conflicts — with little recourse to resolve them. To cite but one cultural difference that often plays out between Europeans and Americans: yard sales. Get anybody started on this topic, and draw blood; discuss the selling of freebies and you’ll find even more of a frenzy.

    People forget about the economic differences that their cultures dictate to them.

    I’d really like to think that a conference within SL is going to be better than teleconferencing or videoconferencing. And I think it is — if you set it up right. I don’t think magic is conferred upon you, however; if you don’t have an existing network to start, SL is unlikely to create it for you out of thin air. I think there are some serious distractions and liabilities like the cross IMs – people holding private cross communications underneath and around the group discussion or the discussion ostensibly private with you — and even pasting what you say, unbeknownst to you, to another party. All of the features of email that have ripped apart office morale are in SL in spades, and nobody ever talks about this. I guess you’ll find it out.

    The one good thing that came out of this podcast was Prof. Peter Ludlow’s puncturing of the myth of teaching in SL. We’re constantly propagandized about the 40 universities and such in SL — but we never hear about their actual product, achievements beyond talking about the technology itself, and retention. The fact is that the distractions are probably too great, the difficulties in using it probably too off-putting.

  5. Joseph Jaffe

    Nov 26th, 2006

    It seems like I’m a little more idealistic than you are…although I respect your more practical/pragmatic perspective (e.g. wrt education/b2b)

    I am hopeful for the future and the possibilities…and again, I respect your position of being more grounded. This way, you get to overpromise and underdeliver less.

    Ultimately the beauty or undoing of SL will be the ability to embrace diversity and integrate. In many respects, SL is no different to any other community or civilization in terms of progress, evolution and “infiltration” by outsiders. I don’t profess to understand this fully….but once again, I’ll stress that I’m open-minded and open to learning from the installed base of pioneers/long term residents (you) – whether real, hybrid, pure-avatar or any other combination…

    Uri opens a fresh bottle of Hatorade every morning; I open a fresh can of Hoperade (you can vomit now)

    As for Marketing, I am a Marketer and I refuse to label marketing as the Devil. I think advertising is a lot closer to evil than marketing per se. My committment is towards trying to clean up the crap that is out there and do it right…i.e. being respectful and considerate; authentic and open-minded. I’ll continue to battle ANYONE (that includes you) who takes a contrary position (old school or new new school i.e. purist position)

  6. Urizenus

    Nov 26th, 2006

    Truth be told, Urizenus is the nice one and PL is the tool. Just look what PL did to poor Hubert Dreyfus’s book On the Internet!

    I think Prok is both right and wrong when he points out the deep differences between people online. He’s right that they exist. But the name of the game was never to bond with the other but to engage in conversation and debate with the other. In point of fact, the Crayonista’s and I are never really going to have a Teletubby Group Hug Moment, but that’s ok: it’s more fun to argue and debate anyway. Who wants to talk to people that agree with them? You don’t learn anything that way.

    My view on PR and Marketing is that it got a bad rap around 2500 years ago when Plato libeled the Sophists — a group that was really about teaching Athenian citizens how to defend themselves in debate and in court. The Sophists were, in reality, forces for Democracy; something Plato could not abide. You can imagine a new role for PR in social spaces in which, rather than engaging in deception and hype, it taught people how to make their cases clearly and cogently in an networked space and contributed positively to the health and fidelity of information flow the network.

    As for marketing, I think JJ misspeaks when he says he wants to locate people that are “like minded” — narrowcasting can be directed at people precisely because they *don’t* get it but are relevant or are interested in the issues. This is effectively the academic model (small audience that you disagree with intensely) and it is certainly the model for the Herald.

    Turning one adversary is worth one thousand dittoheads.

  7. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 26th, 2006

    Hm, this strikes me as a lot of word salad on both your parts!

    To take but one of these pablum cliches — Forcing people to embrace diversity and integrate doesn’t work. Didn’t work in RL; didn’t work in places like the Soviet Union where they tried it; won’t work in SL. I just can’t prattle nonsense like that when I see that the hallmark of SL, as in some Balkanized RL situations, is greater tribalism, marking of territory, further cohesion of groups by excluding others, etc. Indeed, that’s what the hazing is all about, and the terrible group-think of the forums.

    Yes, Uri, the Sophists got a bad name, but I’m not sure I’m willing to erase Plato out of the history of democracy.

  8. Urizenus

    Nov 26th, 2006

    Plato plays an important role in the history of democracy, yes: as its principle opponent.

    No one is asking people to embrace diversity or unity or anything else. We are just saying — well, I am just saying — that it is useful to meet different people and argue with them. Not just useful, but maybe thought itself requires the presence of widespread disagreement within a community. I have a paper that I co-wrote on this, in dialgue form even, entitled “Disagreement and Deference: Is Diversity of Opinion a Precondition for Thought?”:

  9. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 27th, 2006

    “Embracing diversity” sounds like one of those drippy “let’s hold hands and sing Kumbayah,” Uri.

    Democracy is strengthened by arguing with its adversaries. If that’s what you mean, I’m all for that.

    So often what SL is about, however, is rounding people up into tribes, making them “sing the same thing together”.

    Your paper is interesting.

    I’m not an expert on Plato by any stretch, but it seems to me that yes, having the Platonic ideals, having the notion that there is always some enlightenment round the corner to be supplied by the leaders does indeed make for static ideologies, and that means there isn’t diversity or democracy.

    When people in modern life or Second Life tell you to “embrace diversity,” they don’t mean, “let’s have a good argument,” or “let Prokofy speak his mind.” What they mean is “place some unifying whole called ‘group hug’ over the entire set of diversity”. They do not mean some deep acceptance of diversity. What they mean is that they pick and chose the politically correct diversities and embrace them by their homogenous lights.

    I’ll come back and read your paper at leisure, it seems to me that certain facts and authorities can and should be accepted, like “stamp out your campfire to prevent a forest fire” but there’s a whole realm of human life that isn’t “embedded” and static in this way and can vary not only due to “social conditioning” but due to *thought* and *independent reasoning*.

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